Around the world the following was happening …
Tuesday 1 May 1979
It was Tuesday, under the sign of Taurus. The US president was Jimmy Carter (Democratic). Famous people born on this day include Jennifer Botterill and Kimberly Grigsby. In that special week of May people in US were listening to Reunited by Peaches & Herb. In UK Bright Eyes by Art Garfunkel was in the top 5 hits. Manhattan, directed by Woody Allen, was one of the most viewed movies released in 1979 while War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk was one of the best selling books. On TV people were watching Cities. If you liked videogames you were probably playing Cutie Q or Football….
And yet strangely enough l don’t see the entry for “Part-time Head Waiter Attacked and Brutalised by Crazy Grey Squirrel!” Or the following entry “Doctors and nurses laugh their socks off at young man’s confession to being seduced by sweet squirrel before nearly losing left earlobe!”
“Oh no, we saw none of that did we?”
“We hear not of the fact that this incident left me scarred for life …, no, no, no, l don’t mean mentally l love squirrels, l mean physically!” I have a scar behind my left ear, faint but still there!
I was just under 16 years of age when this ‘thing’ happened!
Picture if you can, a smart dapper young man, dressed in freshly ironed black trousers, with a crease that could have sunk ships, a brilliant white shirt, an impressive black hand tied bow tie, shoes so bright the already peaking sun was jealous of and a short black bolero waiters’ jacket! Hair brushed perfectly, l was an impressive sight strutting down the street whistling to myself – well maybe l wasn’t strutting, but l was walking very briskly and l was filled with the joys of life! [Yes l know, l am a cynical washed out husk of a man now, but l wasn’t then, l was a happy young soul!]
The time was 05.15am l started my shift at 05.45am.
I was only about 600 feet away from The Cotteridge Hotel, Woking [It’s gone now], l was just over the road from it, just walking down York Road, and to my immediate right about 15″ off the ground in height was a low bearing wall. Now at that time in the morning, way back then, there weren’t many folks around. It was a really nice quiet time of the day, and l loved that time because of that. I used to do a morning breakfast shift, knock off just before 8, then walk the 20 minutes back home, get ready for school, go to school and then afterwards, would walk back down for some more part time work.
But this particular day, as l was walking, l heard a strange noise, l couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it was odd, sort of like a whispering ‘twitch’, no don’t ask me to provide a sound file – l asked you to imagine at the start, so imagine, a sort of crazy sort of natural noise, like a tweet and twoot combined with something a little more guttural.
I ignored the first one, and continued to walk, l was going to be early, but as l was walking l then heard this pitter pattering sound behind me, and as one does, we all do, you too. I turned around and as one does, we all do, you too looked at my height around me, not of course thinking to look down at this wall.
Still l walked on, albeit, just a little slower, and there it was again not just the pitter pattering, but this noise, more now like a bird in trouble? Once more, l looked around me at shoulder height and up into the small trees, and there was nothing there! So l started off again, even more slowly, and to an observer l must’ve looked a right Noddy, sort of walking in slow motion, but still the noise was there, now more like a frustrated or worse perhaps a hurt bird!?
My alarms were now ringing, some poor, helpless perhaps hurt bird was in trouble, and l – Super Guy was there to help! So this time when l turned around l looked down into the grounds over this wall, and saw nothing and scanned from left to right, and it was on my right scan, that l saw ‘the squirrel!’ Cute little thing, on the wall, about 15 feet behind me, stopped dead just looking at me in an upright position – staring it was, just staring, and l swear making ‘smiles’ at me!
As is my way to all animals, l wished him/her Good Morning, have a nice day! [Stop laughing, l still do that to animals now, from birds to dogs to horses, and now occasionally people] it didn’t answer me back [l’m not crazy you know], but as l set off again, there it was – this pitter pattering noise, and l slowly turned my head around over my right shoulder as l was walking to see ‘Cutsie’ actually following me!
Yeah!! Following ME! Who would’ve thunk that?
Well l was seriously impressed, somehow, this squirrel saw me as a companion, a soul mate, me, the squirrel whisperer! I had made contact with a rodent! I played with the walking/following thing for about a minute and it was actually following me – so this had to be explored! So l stopped, and Cutsie stopped to, but l beckoned Cutsie over and the squirrel continued to run along the wall, closing the gap until it was literally right below my right knee!
I was blown away, l was the new Dr. Doolittle!
But you know, or you should do if you follow my posts, l can be a little clumsy, if something bad is going to happen, it finds me first!
No exception here sadly as l was about to found out!
However, l digressed … “Good morning Cutsie!” I said and put my hand down to the squirrel … for Cutsie to let out a cry like that of a ninja warrior and it jumped the 8″ off the wall and landed on my right hand and ran up my arm and ran over behind my head and sat on my left shoulder? I know what you are thinking , who does that on a first date? My thoughts exactly, except Cutsie, was really cute. a quick check to my watch and l saw l had a few minutes to ‘bond’ if that is the term. So l started petting the squirrel, and it loved it, l was allowed to scratch and tickle, and talk to it. The milkman, who drove past nearly crashed his truck, l mean it’s not everyday you see what looks to be like someone from Fawlty Towers petting a squirrel perched on his shoulder is it?
But time was a ticking on and after a few minutes l told Cutsie, that l needed to get to work, and so lowered my left arm for the squirrel to depart. missing its cue for leaving the squirrel refused to budge, so with my right hand, l used my fingers to try and coax Cutsie down to the wall. But that wasn’t happening with this squirrel, who promptly dug its bloody sharp claws into the fleshy part of my thumb on my right hand, and attached its teeth to my left ear lobe!
Do you know parts of the body that can bleed the most from the slightest scratch? Yes, your ear lobe and your thumbs’ fleshy part! Suddenly Cutsie, wasn’t the slightest bit cute! The pain, well, the thumb was bad enough, but the ear, all l can say hand on heart if ‘Foooookity!” The more l tried to coax the demon squirrel from my shoulder, the harder it bit, the fiercer the pain became, and the blood was intense – l never knew that an ear lobe could spray that way!
My pristine white shirt was by now drenched in crimson all down my left side to the stomach, my jacket was stained, and l was .. well l was suddenly praying someone would hear my cries for ‘Heeeeelp me, l am being attacked by a crazy squirrel!!”
No one did, so all l could so was run with the ‘Thing‘ attached to me, so l ran to the hotel, and every step taken, this ‘Thing‘ tried to remove another part of my ear and thumb! I was running now at full flight, l cared not as l ran into the road and heard swerving traffic, horns a honking, people shouting and yes cries of “That boy has a strange bloody growth on his head and it’s moving!!“
Finally, l reached the doors to the kitchens, and suddenly the Thing let go and jumped away, twitching, or tweeting or twooting or whatever the fuck it was doing and disappeared into the gardens! Leaving me stunned, in agony, and literally losing my very life-force, and never mind the absolute shock l was suffering from!
“I have been attacked by a Cutsie Squirrel!!!” Were my first words as l burst into the kitchen to the stunned faces of my boss Douglas and his wife Sue! Well, they just stood there for what seemed like ages, and ages trying to take in the horrifying scene that their Head Waiter was in!
“I think l am going to pass out guys, any chance of some help?” Was what motivated them into action, and whilst Sue bandaged me as best as she could, Douglas quizzed me on the events and then asked if l was up to date with my tetanus shots and wondered if the squirrel was rabid, because he knew someone who had been treated for rabies and the treatment was seriously awful and made his friend wish he had just died! Him explaining all this and trying not to laugh!
Which as you can imagine – WASN’T Helping!
Douglas as my boss, was the same height and stature of Ronnie Corbett, hell he even had the same humour, and the assistant hotel Manager – Ted, well he looked like Ronnie Barker so when he came in to find out what all the commotion was about, he just nearly died there and then of laughter poisoning!
However if l thought for one minute that was bad, when the boss drove me to the local hospital in Woking at 06.25am that morning, and we walked into the reception to find Doctors and nurses either sitting or leaning against the counters [Yes these were the days when they could do that] – l was wrong.
Upon enquiring to the nature of the accident, and why this strangely attired young man had a white turban on his head, and looking bedraggled, and Douglas said ‘He was attacked by a squirrel by the name of Cutsie!” Well the laughter was probably heard in Guildford it was so loud!
But that’s another story!
Guy or Bloke, Your Choice